It’s hard to imagine a speech at the Golden Globes earning a response from one of the most powerful figures in mixed martial arts, but that’s exactly what happened after actress Meryl Streep took a dig at the sport during Sunday’s awards ceremony.
It all unfolded when Streep was accepting her ‘Cecil B. DeMille’ Award at the annual show when she unleashed a tirade aimed at President Elect Donald Trump. During the course of her speech, Streep commented on the diverse group of people that make up Hollywood’s best and brightest, but then she took a decisive shot at MMA (and football for that matter).
“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts,” Streep said.
The offhanded comment certainly got under the skin of everybody in the MMA community, but UFC president Dana White decided to respond on Monday when speaking to TMZ.
“It’s not going to be everybody’s thing and the last thing in the world I expect is an uppity, 80-year old lady to be in our demographic and love mixed martial arts,” White said.
Streep, who is actually 67 years old, spent the majority of her speech attacking Trump for appearing to mock a disabled reporter in 2015 while also asking the press to make sure to hold the new President accountable for each and every thing he says or does over the next four years.
White was an open advocate for Trump during the election campaign and even spoke for him at the Republican National Convention, but he’s not sure if that’s why Streep singled out MMA when giving her speech on Sunday.
“I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe she did, I’m not sure. I mean (UFC owner) Ari Emanuel is definitely Hollywood and he makes movies and TV shows and wasn’t a Trump supporter either, but I don’t know,” White said.
“If you really look at who follows the UFC and is into mixed martial arts, it’s everybody. I don’t expect an 80-year old woman to be a big fan of mixed martial arts and listen, everybody’s into whatever (they’re into). I’m not a big fan of golf. It doesn’t mean people should stop watching it. If you don’t like it, change the channel.”
Streep, who is represented by CAA — the main agency rival to the new UFC owners at WME-IMG, only made the lone comment about MMA during her speech, but it certainly sent waves through the MMA world at large.
Several fighters also blasted the actress for saying that MMA isn’t an art form and White said the same while responding to Streep on Monday.
“Of course it’s an art. I mean these fighters, the men and women are so talented, they train their whole lives to become the best in the world and the people who get into the UFC are the elite of the elite.
“To say something stupid like that is like saying she’s not a talented actress, which she is. She’s a very talented actress.”
White also took umbrage with Streep’s speech about diversity when a sport like MMA features athletes from all over the world from extremely unique backgrounds.
“We have fighters from all over the world,” White said. “World champions, men and women, we do tons of fights in foreign countries. She’s not educated about the sport and it was a completely uneducated comment.”